Gabapentin and Addiction

Gabapentin and Addiction

Though gabapentin is not classified as an addictive substance, this does not mean that it doesn’t carry risks when not used as directed, or that there is no potential for dependence or abuse. Read on to learn more about gabapentin, why it is used, how it can be abused and what to do if you suspect you have a problem with gabapentin.

What Is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin was developed to combat seizures, though not intended necessarily for generalized epilepsy. It mimics the action of the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain. The drug has been shown to be effective in treating chronic neuropathic pain such as that associated with fibromyalgia or shingles because the role of the brain chemical GABA is to decrease the speed of nerve cell activity in the brain. While the drug has been shown to achieve the desired result of mitigating seizures and neuropathic pain, how it does so is not entirely clear.

Gabapentin is also known by its trade names Fanatrex, Gabarone, Gralise, Neurontin, Nupentin and Neogab. When gabapentin became available generically, a more potent version was developed known as Pregabalin. Pregabalin is a Schedule V controlled substance with greater potential for dependence and addiction.

Gabapentin and Abuse

Is gabapentin addictive? The short answer is no. Gabapentin is not an addictive substance and is not listed by the FDA among the family of controlled substances. That does not mean, however, that there is no potential for abuse, dependence or addiction-like effects.

With gabapentin, users tend to develop a tolerance and will ask for the drug in ever increasing amounts and dosages. Attempts to go off the drug were often met with significant withdrawal symptoms. Gabapentin has also produced psychoactive effects in some users as well as suicidal thoughts.

Gabapentin abuse, although rare, has been seen among those seeking the relaxing, drowsy effects that it provides. It slows cognitive function, giving a mild drug-like state and has been sold illegally on the drug black market.

If You Struggle With Gabapentin Abuse

Are you concerned about your use of gabapentin or do you find that you are using it for reasons not associated with its intended purpose? Do you want to discontinue using the drug but are unable to stop? While gabapentin does not typically produce full-blown addiction, it does carry the potential for abuse.

Gabapentin has been shown to produce negative withdrawal effects and should not be quit “cold turkey.” If a doctor is prescribing gabapentin to you, speak with him or her about reducing your dose so that you may discontinue the drug safely and under medical supervision. If gabapentin has been obtained through black market sources and not for the treatment of a medical condition, you may need to seek a drug rehabilitation facility to get the professional help and support you need in discontinuing abuse of gabapentin.

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